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Optimize electrospraying process to best encapsulate probiotic ingredients.

The health benefits that we can receive from functional foods supplemented with bioactive ingredients depend on the bioavailability of those ingredients.

Mexican scientists focused on reducing the losses of probiotic viability of the ingredients during storage, or as they pass through our gastrointestinal tract. They tried encapsulating the ingredients in edible, polymeric microstructures, which would serve as stabilization vehicles.

An encapsulation technology based on an electrospraying process developed by the researchers was used to encapsulate Lactobacillus plantarum in a whey protein concentrate matrix. Electrospraying involves the atomization of liquid by electrical forces. Droplets produced by electrospraying are highly charged, which prevents their coagulation and promotes self dispersion. Essentially, electricity disperses a liquid or a fine aerosol resulting from the process.

To improve the process, the investigators tracked bacterial viability loss and percentage of product recovery as dependent variables. The first step of the optimization approach focused on minimizing viability loss during the encapsulation process by examining the use of either fresh culture or freeze-dried bacteria, and by the use of a commercial surfactant nonionic detergent.

Also, the scientists used a surface response methodology to optimize how much applied voltage to use, the concentration of the surfactant and the addition of a commercial prebiotic to the formulation.

Results showed that during the electrospraying process, the viability loss that occurred in the fresh culture bacteria was statistically lower than in the tests using freeze-dried bacteria. The commercial surfactant significantly improved recovery without causing any extensive effect on viability loss.

Mathematically modeling the electrospraying process demonstrated that the amount of surfactant, the applied voltage, the amount of prebiotic as well as the interaction between the surfactant and the applied voltage significantly affected product recovery.

Higher amounts of the commercial surfactant prebiotic combined with higher voltages result in greater product recovery. Because electrospraying is a novel process for the microencapsulation of active food ingredients, it is difficult to guarantee an accurate model for the viability loss. Nevertheless, this loss remained less than one log cycle, and final product viability remained greater than 8.5 log cycles.

Further information. Aurelio L. Lopez Malo, Chemical and Food Engineering Department, University of the Americas-Puebla, Ex-hacienda Santa Catarina Martir, San Andres Cholula, Puebla 72820, Mexico; phone: +52 222 229 2409; email:

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Author:Malo, Aurelio L. Lopez
Publication:Emerging Food R&D Report
Date:Apr 1, 2019
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